1887

WTO Working Papers

WTO working papers usually represent research in progress. Such research may be conducted in the preparation of WTO Secretariat reports, studies or other material for WTO members. The papers are circulated for comment because the WTO considers critical review of professional research to be extremely important.

English

Coordination Failures in Immigration Policy

We propose a theoretical framework for analyzing the problems associated to unilateral immigration policy in receiving countries and for evaluating the grounds for reform of international institutions governing immigration. We build a model with multiple destination countries and show that immigration policy in one country is influenced by measures adopted abroad as migrants choose where to locate (in part) in response to differences in immigration policy. This interdependence gives rise to a leakage effect of immigration policy, an international externality well documented in the empirical literature. In this environment, immigration policy becomes strategic and unilateral behavior may lead to coordination failures, where receiving countries are stuck in welfare inferior equilibria. We then study the conditions under which a coordination failure is more likely to emerge and argue that multilateral institutions that help receiving countries make immigration policy commitments would address this inefficiency.

English

Keywords: coordination failures, multilateral institutions, cross-border externalities, Immigration policy
JEL: F02: International Economics / General / International Economic Order and Integration; J61: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers; F22: International Economics / International Factor Movements and International Business / International Migration
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